It is harvest season in Napa and Sonoma (August-October) and I can’t help but wish we could visit again soon! Although I don’t think there is necessarily a “bad time” to visit, I think harvest season would be such a fun time to explore the valley. It is such a beautiful area and we have always enjoyed our time there!
When Andrew and I were trying to decide where to go for our honeymoon one of the first places we stumbled upon during our search was Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, CA. neither of us had ever been to that area before so we kept it on our list of options and after that nothing else compared and we were set on going.
For those who know me well, taking our honeymoon in Napa Valley seems like an odd choice. I can absolutely understand why, because I am not someone who really drinks and to most people when they think of Napa they think of wine. People will often ask us which vineyards we tried while we were there and the truth is, we didn’t go to a single one. Once I tell people this they give me a confused look and say “Then what did you do? Isn’t that why people go to Napa?”. During our trip it didn’t really seem odd to me that we didn’t visit any vineyards/wineries because there was so much else to do.
We have since visited the Napa area a second time and didn’t fit in any vineyards or wine tastings this time either as we were only there for a quick day trip. The next time we go back I would LOVE to visit a vineyard, but it just wasn’t on our radar at the time.
While Napa is absolutely known for being “wine country” there is so much more to be discovered and explored.
SceneryThe spectacular views and scenery alone are worth the trip to Napa. On our drive in from the Sacramento airport I would ooh and ah around every turn (until I got carsick and fell asleep-Dramamine folks, I should have known better). There was a day that we decided to just drive around from town to town and about every 10 minutes I would ask Andrew to pull over so I could take photos. From beautiful mountain-scapes to rows of olive trees an perfectly filed vineyards, everything was beautiful.
AdventureI am not a super adventurous person but when I go on trips I have a difficult time “doing nothing”. This is probably why I am not a beach person because I don’t really like to sit still unless I am truly worn out and need a break. I like to go places where I can get a mix of activity and relaxation. Napa may seem super leisurely (and it can be), but there are great opportunities for adventure as well. Take a hot air balloon ride, go horseback riding or hiking. Consider taking a day trip to a near by State or National Park for hiking too (we took a day trip to Muir Woods while we were there). If you want adventure you can definitely find it!
RelaxationMaybe you are someone who really does enjoy going on trips purely to relax or maybe you need a little down time and recovery after a day of exploring. The Napa atmosphere is very laid back and there are so many wonderful resorts and spas scattered throughout the area that you can be sure to find one that suits you. Meadowood Resort and Spa is tucked back behind rows of trees and vineyards which makes for a very relaxing and serene setting. Spend a day at the spa or cozy up by the fireplace in your room.
CharmAs soon as I looked at pictures of St. Helena and nearby Yountville I fell in love with their charm. The towns are so quaint and perfect with a mixture of wonderful shops, restaurants and galleries. You can spend hours wandering in and out of the amazing shops and we did just that in both towns.
FoodOf course, saving the best for last. The dining in the area is wonderful! From diners like Gott’s to some of the world’s top restaurants like The French Laundry and Meadowood, you will not be disappointed! Andrew and I still talk about our meals there and look forward to going back. Not only are there amazing restaurants but the Culinary Institute of America is located just outside of St. Helena. The Institute offers cooking tutorials which is something we will definitely be doing on our next trip. Many of the resorts in the area also offer courses in cooking, wine pairings, and cocktails as well so be sure to look into that. Napa is every food-lovers dream!
I am sure the fact that we were there on our honeymoon added to the experience and excitement of being in Napa, but it was truly a wonderful trip. Of course there are many amazing vineyards to explore during a trip but there is so much more to do! We are already anxious to take another trip back to discover even more!